Friends of Therfield Heath and Greens group unveiled at public meeting in Royston

The public meeting was to share views on the management of Therfield Heath.

The public meeting was to share views on the management of Therfield Heath. - Credit: Archant

A friends of Therfield Heath group was launched last night at a rare public meeting held by the conservators.

The Conservators of Therfield Heath and Greens called the meeting to inform the community of developments at the much-loved nature reserve and leisure spot.

Town councillor Rod Kennedy, who informed the audience he won’t stand for election on the town council next month due to his age, gave a presentation on his idea for the Friends of Therfield Heath and Greens group.

He said the move would be a step forward, as in times gone by, the conservators had not been as open to the public as they could have been.

“Conservators change and time moves on,” he said, to the packed audience at Royston Town Hall.

“The present body is different to a few years ago, and they are much more approachable.”

The conservators are the trustees of the Therfield Regulation Trust, which owns the heath. They get no public funding for the running costs of the 400-acre site, which has to be managed to the requirements of Natural England.

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Mr Kennedy moved to Royston 40 years ago, citing the heath as “one of the reasons that pulled him here.”

Mr Kennedy said the friends group idea came after the public inquiry, because there was “no current body for the wider public to show support for the heath.”

Moving onto the role of the group in relation to the conservators, he said: “Friends must help and be supportive, they are not there to criticise.

“The body must not interfere or try to take over responsibility, and be supportive but not confrontational.

“Anybody can join wherever they live, and we welcome ideas – I can’t be a one man idea band.”

There were clear signs of support for the friends group in the audience.

However, one attendee responded: “The only thing I have one concern of is that friends would be just supportive, shouldn’t it be a conduit to enable people to say this is what we really think of the running of the heath?”

To which Mr Kennedy said once they have a group together they would draft in rules and regulations to determine this.

He said the non-profit making group would consist of a core team – who would initially determine objectives, rules and regulations – and volunteers.

Friends’ tasks would include raising awareness and funds, and informing the public of the aims of the conservators.

Mr Kennedy said the friends could also potentially be a charity in its own right in future, which could open up more funding opportunities.

More than 20 people put their name down to register their interest at the meeting.

If you want to find out more about the friends group, email